Date Published: October 2, 2014
In their self-indulgent realm, the gods know no suffering until the end of their time. Compassion is the only portal through which they can escape the self and its eventual demise, but without suffering, compassion cannot be recognized. Thus they seek compassion in the human domain where happiness and sorrow abound.
Once there, they engineer a superior humanoid race and are soon distracted by the delight they find in the daughters of men. The gods become the extraterrestrial visitors of our collective memory.
The ageless story follows the adventures of the god Quay, his love of Daya, a humanoid, and their entanglement in the eternal web of impermanence, unrelenting consequences and death amidst a background of war, famine and geologic cataclysm.
Then, to my surprise, she gently placed her lips against my cheek. A tingling feeling where her lips touched ran all the way down to my toes. There was something special about her kiss. It reminded me I am her very best friend. I guessed it was what a kiss was supposed to do.
She looked down again before glancing up at me with a grin. I could tell she was happy again. Happiness is what best friends give each other. She taught me that, too.
I thought of how pitifully tragic these humans are, trying to survive in a universe that seems not to want them.
Saddened by the cruelty their persistence brought to them, it could be I was feeling compassion once again. I looked up at Father from a lowered brow. His face was eclipsed the sun, creating a halo of blinding white light.
“Are you searching for compassion or spectacle? Which is it, Quay?” I could not behold Father’s face for the intense light. His voice seemed to thunder from the sun.
Perhaps I really did not have compassion for the human after all. Maybe feeling important by rescuing him was what I really wanted. Frightened into honoring Father’s warning, I submissively prostrated on the sand.
Gradually, my brothers and I became conditioned by material nature, he wrote. We found it ruled the domain of happiness and sorrow. Our senses, spurred by concoctions of our minds, became attached to the gratification we found here. These senses of ours took us by surprise. They were so strong they carried our minds away. Now, I realize why Father was adamant about avoiding the lure of sense gratification.
“When one’s mind fixates upon the objects of the senses,” he told me once, “one develops attachment for them. From such attachment, desire is born. When impermanence prevents desire from being fulfilled, anger visits to take its place.”
Mark Cosman’s writing began when his daughter, Berlyn, was murdered following her high school prom. It was when Mark left the rubble of his beliefs and assumptions to go in search of answers to the most profound questions we ask ourselves. “A Flower in the Snow” is a result of that odyssey.